At the age of 5, Yvette Brown, knew she would be a hair stylist. “While the other kids were outside playing, I used to be all up in my mom’s makeup and pretending to do Jermac commercials,” she said. Thirty four years and many obstacles later, Brown’s dream has come true as she celebrates five years of her Studio 34 Salon in Fondren.

Brown’s career may have technically begun when she was in high school. The now 39 year-old mother and grandmother styled her mom and her friends before going to hair school at 18. Her only other desire, she explained, was to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.

But it wasn’t until 2003 when she first received a hair license. “I had a lot of obstacles to come my way,” she said. “My first two children’s father’s died and I became pregnant with twins. So, being here now, that’s why I’m celebrating.”

Her first salon was called Visions and was located on Highway 18. But she married and shut it down to become a homemaker. In 2008, she picked up her blowdryer again and opened Studio 34, first on Northview before late last year settling in to Fondren Corner.

Brown says she likes unique and different and considers herself a trendsetter. That’s why the 2906 North State address appealed to her. “I was walking for lunch one day and saw a for rent sign,” she said. “The Lord told me ‘You’re a king’s daughter, so what makes you think you don’t deserve this?” Strong in her faith, Brown stepped out, took a chance and opened during Fondren Unwrapped 2012. She was doing hair during the event. With a multicultural, hand selected clientele, Brown said she couldn’t ask for better. She’s also an educator and exclusive representative for Design Essentials, a hair products company. Her latest project is in forming a team of service professionals, Salon PROS (Professionals Referring Other Services) to build a network for herself and others. “There’s enough (business) out there for everyone,” she said. “And that’s another draw to Fondren: there’s unity here.”

Brown celebrated with long-time friends, clients and family on Sunday with a rooftop party and a meal she made herself. She also handed out eight awards for dedicated customers, suppliers and others who have helped her business grow. “It’s the people who make you,” she said.

A hairstylist on a mission? The name of her salon is derived from the loss of her father two weeks before her 34th birthday. It’s also a mark of survival. “I watched people live a life of being held back and I refuse to be held back myself,” Brown explained. “Never let anything stop you. What looks like opposition is your opportunity. I encourage you to keep pressing forward. You’re headed to another level.”